The Meaning of Deplorable: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of deplorable? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word deplorable, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word deplorable mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other sources like Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, the word deplorable is an adjective that refers to someone or something worthy of censure, severe rebuke, or contempt, or something that is lamentable, or worthy of compassion or sorrow. Something that is deplorable may have poor quality, sad shape, or be in a sorry state of affairs. Many things can be deplorable including deplorable acts, a deplorable perspective, deplorable manners, a deplorable act of violence, deplorable orders, the deplorable death of a friend, deplorable housing conditions, or other such deplorable behavior. Deplorable is four syllables – de-plor-a-ble, and the pronunciation of deplorable is di-ˈplȯr-ə-bəl.

This word was repopularized by Republicans in 2016 after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton used the term “basket of deplorables” to describe half of Trump’s supporters. The Clinton campaign received a lot of media attention from places like CNN. Trump supporters had grief and reproach for Clinton. However, after the Trump campaign refused to denounce white supremacy, even Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, indicated that Pence should have called David Duke deplorable and denounced the white supremacists and racist behavior. Disapproval ratings for each candidate went up and down after a survey in America after each of these deplorable incidents.

Many different languages also contain words that mean deplorable. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word deplorable. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that look and sound similar and also mean similar things. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. Below are translations of deplorable, provided by Word Sense.

  •  Spanish: deplorable‎
  •  Esperanto: terura‎, abomeninda‎, kondamninda‎
  •  Swedish: bedrövlig‎
  •  Italian: deplorabile‎, deplorevole‎, deprecabile‎
  •  Greek: οικτρός‎ (masc.), ελεεινός‎ (masc.), άθλιος‎ (masc.)
  •  German: verdammungswürdig‎, verdammenswert‎; (verdammenswert) kläglich‎, (verdammenswert) erbärmlich‎, skandalös‎, miserabel‎, verwerflich‎, schimpflich‎
  •  Bulgarian: плачевен‎
  •  Turkish: içler acısı‎
  •  French: déplorable‎
  •  Russian: плаче́вный‎, скве́рный‎
  •  Dutch: verwerpelijk‎
  •  Romanian: deplorabil‎
  •  Finnish: paheksuttava‎; (paheksuttavan) surkea‎, (paheksuttavan) kurja‎
  •  Norman: lamentabl’ye‎
  •  Portuguese: deplorável‎, desprezível‎

What is the origin of the word deplorable?

According to Etymonline, the word deplorable (adj.) has been used as an adjective since the 1610s to mean lamentable or miserable, and since the 1640s to mean wretched or contemptible. This comes from the verb deplore, meaning to lament. Deplore comes from the 13c French déplorer and Latin deplorare, from the prefix de meaning entirely and the root plorare, a word of unknown origin meaning to weep or cry. Deplorable could have been inspired by French déplorable or come directly from Late Latin deplorabilis. One can add the suffixes ly, ity and ness to make the related words deplorably (adv.), deplorableness (n.) and deplorability (n.) This word has a resurgence in popularity in 2016 after it was used by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in reference to supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

How can the word deplorable be used in a sentence?

The word deplorable can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to familiarize yourself with their definition. You can also create flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge. Below are many examples of the deplorable adjective to get your started!

The sexist behavior at Princeton University was absolutely deplorable. Female students banded together to right the professors’ woeful errors of judgment. News sources called it a criminal waste of talent, but the people on campus believed the men who performed adultery and predatory behavior with students were getting what they deserved by the legal trial. 

The New York inner city house of worship was in a deplorable state of affairs. The building was practically falling apart, and they made the amentalbe decision to knock the building down and rebuild it. 

The woman offered her deepest sympathies when her friend revealed her parents’ deplorable death. She offered comfort and a soft spot to fall.

What are synonyms and antonyms of deplorable?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word deplorable. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word deplorable is provided by Thesaurus.

  • terrible
  •  disastrous
  •  afflictive
  •  grim
  •  melancholy
  •  miserable
  •  sickening
  •  stinking
  •  mournful
  •  sad
  •  disreputable
  •  heartbreaking
  •  dishonorable
  •  unbearable
  •  woeful
  •  opprobrious
  •  faulty
  •  calamitous
  •  rotten
  •  execrable
  •  shameful
  •  unsatisfactory
  •  bummer
  •  downer
  •  tragic
  •  wretched
  •  dirty
  •  awful
  •  blameworthy
  •  pitiable
  •  grievous
  •  distressing
  •  dolorous
  •  horrifying
  •  godawful
  •  regrettable
  •  scandalous
  •  lamentable
  •  unfortunate
  •  dreadful
  •  reprehensible
  •  intolerable
  •  lousy
  •  dire
  •  heartrending
  •  overwhelming
  •  disgraceful
  •  poor

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning of the word deplorable. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great, easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word deplorable is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  trendy
  •  average
  •  satisfactory
  •  on the beam
  •  pleasant
  •  up to code
  •  hunky-dory
  •  A-OK
  •  common
  •  okay
  •  right on
  •  fair
  •  unexceptional
  •  standard
  •  sufficient
  •  pleasing
  •  decent
  •  welcome
  •  peachy keen
  •  copacetic
  •  swell
  •  tolerable
  •  big
  •  cool
  •  all right
  •  large
  •  hep
  •  kosher
  •  respectable
  •  agreeable
  •  cooking with gas
  •  admissible
  •  adequate
  •  acceptable
  •  delightful
  •  in the swim
  •  unobjectionable
  •  up to snuff
  •  passable
  •  hip
  •  on the ball

Overall, the word deplorable means reprehensible and contemptible, or sorrowful. This word was popularized during the 2016 American presidential election.


  1. deplorable: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. deplorable | Origin and meaning of deplorable | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. DEPLORABLE Synonyms: 64 Synonyms & Antonyms for DEPLORABLE | Thesaurus 
  4. ACCEPTABLE Synonyms: 50 Synonyms & Antonyms for ACCEPTABLE | Thesaurus 
  5. Deplorable | Definition of Deplorable | Merriam-Webster